Legacy of Honor Chapter 3

Fading Memories

By Silveran

Limberry Castle.

Home to the late Marquis Elmdor, the castle stands on the pristine waters of Lake Diara. Also known as the “Castle of Chalk”, its white walls shone brightly under a clear sky despite the many scars of the Fifty Year War and the Lion War seen throughout. A bridge of stone that ran from the shores of the lake to the gate of the castle was one path to take to reach the citadel, the other being by boat.

Surrounded by water, it was only natural for Limberrians to learn its ways. They were skilled sailors, setting foot on a boat as soon as they could walk. Later during their childhood, males would be taught how to work the sails and cast the nets while females were taught how to weave nets and mend them. When they had reached the early ages of adolescence, they were given a choice: to continue the ways of the lake or to carve their own path by learning new skills.

Only a small percent of Limberrian youths would pursue other ways of living while the rest would carry on the tradition of sailing.

And fishing.

The waters of Lake Diara bless Limberry with its supply of fish, the main staple of the dukedom. The people relied on the lake for their livelihood. They also relied on the shores of the lake to provide them with food. The marshy lands surrounding the lake were ideal for growing rice, the staple of Limberrian diet.

Limberrians tend to live a quiet and peaceful life in harmony with the land and waters. They are a friendly people who welcome travelers that often visit Limberry to admire its beautiful landscape and clean waters from the deck of one of the many sailing vessels that drifted on the lake. Travelers would marvel at the fishermen casting their nets into the waters or those picking rice on the shores, their pointed straw hats shielding them from the sun as they bent down to pick the harvest. It was as if they came to a whole new land apart from Ivalice.

But it was a strange new land to a little girl born at the capital.

The beauty of the land did not impress Ramia when she had arrived from Lesalia about a month ago. She completely ignored her surroundings, choosing to be withdrawn from the world.

Andrew knew the hardship his adopted daughter went through as she adjusted to her new home. He watched her now from the rail of his personal ship as she ran around deck giggling.

Lord Birch smiled at her carefree nature but it puzzled him. He knew that Agrias, as a child, was quiet and serious. Ramia may look like her mother with her wavy golden hair shining brightly under the clear sky and her smiling face but that‘s where the similarities end. The difference began with her eyes, which were not the blue of her mother’s but the hazel of, supposedly, her father’s. And he supposed her carefree nature was also a testament of her father’s heritage.

He frowned as he pondered the mystery of Ramia’s true father. Was he a noble? A knight? A mercenary?

Andrew’s frown grew deeper, angry with himself with the inability to solve this mystery. He heard from Agnes that Agrias used to tell stories about the father to Ramia. The only clues that he could gather when he listened were that he was skilled with the sword and had fought in the Lion War.

But that could be anybody, Lord Birch thought.

If he could, he would ask Ramia about those stories but he couldn’t. To do so would invoke the memories of her old life in Lesalia, which must be repressed at all costs. He sighed as he shifted his brown-eyed gaze from his daughter to the lake.

A cool wind blew gently, filling the sails, propelling the vessel slowly through the waters. Andrew’s thick mane of dark brown hair that was tied into a ponytail fluttered listlessly. His attire of a red tunic, white pants with the ends tucked in black boots, and a green sash going over his left shoulder rustled softly against his lean body. He leaned against the rail, watching as a nearby fishing vessel cast its net into the lake.

“You seem preoccupied, husband,” a sweet voice broke into his thoughts.

Andrew blinked and turned to see his wife standing near him.

Lady Celinda Birch was brimming with radiance, the sun glistening on hair that shone like soft fire flowing down the length of her back up to her slim waist, emphasizing the soft curves of her body beneath an outfit of a dark blue long-sleeved dress that flowed down to her ankles.

Lord Birch smiled at her, moving closer to place an arm around her shoulders. “I was just thinking,” he said softly.

“About what?” the lady asked as she snuggled close in his embrace, placing her head against his chest. They watched as the same nearby fishing vessel pulled its net from Diara to come up empty.

“Ramia,” Andrew sighed a reply as he turned to see their daughter on the other side of the boat, enrapt at the sight of the fishing nets that came up full. His wife followed his gaze and smiled softly.

Both lord and lady remembered the trials they went through to make the child adapt to her new home. It had taken a couple of weeks since her arrival for her to adjust. The lord had nearly given up on the girl during her first few weeks in Limberry.

The first few weeks were the hardest. Ramia had always cried herself to sleep, always calling out for her mother or grandfather. There were times too that she would call out for the two knight maidens that had served her mother. And, at rare times, she would call out for the father she never knew.

After a week, the child’s grief turned into anger.

She had begun to throw things around the castle. The sound of breaking antique vases and crashing windows reverberated throughout the castle followed by her screams demanding to return home. Servants who attended her would end up with bite marks or bruised limbs.

Andrew had nearly lost his temper—a rare event for he was a calm and calculating man—if it weren’t for his wife’s advice. She had advised her husband to let the child vent out her emotions. It was better than keeping those feelings bottled inside. He had reluctantly agreed to her advice and was later glad to have listened.

After those first couple of weeks, Ramia had calmed down and, curiosity setting in, had decided to explore her new home. It was on one of her ventures through the castle that she met Galvin, their grandson.

Galvin was only two years older than Ramia. A bright young boy with short black hair and dark brown eyes, he quickly became friends with Ramia. They became inseparable, one not seen without the other.

And it was this friendship that made Ramia accept her new home.

“You do not have to worry about her,” Celinda said reassuringly as they watched Galvin join Ramia at the rail. “If I’d known any better, she had forgotten about all that has happened.”

“I pray that you’re right,” Andrew said solemnly.


It was early evening when the ship pulled into Limberry Castle’s port. Sailors furled the sails as the gangplank was lowered to the stone pier where an armored man stood awaiting for the passengers to disembark.

“Papa!” Galvin cried happily as he ran down the plank towards the armored man. He was followed by Ramia, who yelled, “Alex!”

The man smiled as he knelt on one knee and opened his arms, welcoming the children into his embrace. “So, how was your little cruise?” he asked them fondly afterwards.

“We saw the fish the fishermen caught!” Galvin exclaimed excitedly.

“Yeah! Lots of fish! Plenty to eat!” Ramia added with as much enthusiasm, her hazel eyes twinkling.

“Really?” the man named Alex asked lightheartedly and the children nodded vigorously. “Then get ready for dinner because that’s what we’re having,” he smiled.

“Okay!” both children exclaimed heartily. They hugged Alex once more before running off the pier into the main part of the castle, their giggling echoing in the vast cavern-like harbor.

Alex watched them go as he stood up. He then turned around when he heard footsteps approaching from behind.

Lord and Lady Birch walked down the gangplank, their arms linked, to meet the man on the wharf. “Rascals, the both of them,” Andrew grinned as he and his wife approached Alex.

“But, quite endearing nonetheless,” Celinda added with a smile of her own. “Don’t you agree, Alex?”

“Of course, mother,” Alex nodded as he smiled as well. “I find having a little sister quite pleasant though somewhat awkward for a man of my age.”

Andrew laughed heartily at his son’s remark. “You think I don’t feel awkward, as well, having a daughter at my age? But what does it matter?” he shrugged. “A Birch is a Birch and she’ll always be a part of the family.”

“I couldn’t agree with you more,” Celinda concurred. “Now if you’ll excuse me,” she began as she let go of her husband’s arm, “I’ll get ready for dinner as well. Besides,” she added looking at her husband directly, “I’m sure you’re eager to hear your son’s report.”

She then lightly kissed Andrew on the cheek and said, “Don’t be late,” before leaving, following the children’s previous route.

Both father and son watched her leave before turning to each other. “So, how are things at the castle? I hope you were able to take care of everything,” Lord Birch began.

“Yes, everything is fine, father,” Alex nodded, his orangey hair spilling over his shoulders.

They began walking down the pier and into the castle, continuing their conversation as they went. “Any news from the capital?” Andrew asked.

“None,” his son replied pausing briefly as they began climbing a set of stairs into the main part of the castle before continuing. “It’s been quiet for quite some time now.”

“Yes,” Andrew agreed softly tapping his chin thoughtfully. He then shrugged and said, “As the old saying goes, no news is good news.”

“But no news could also mean no progress,” Alex countered.

Andrew chuckled lightly. “You’re right,” he smirked, “but it’s not for us to worry about. As long as we carry on Prince Clemence’s orders, or should I say Father Jaren’s, we’ll eventually find them.”

Both men had finished climbing the stairs and were now standing in one of the many corridors of Limberry Castle. Servants passed by lighting the torches set into the walls as the sun’s rays shining through the windows began to fade.

“I guess this is where we part,” Lord Birch declared. “I don’t want to keep your mother waiting and I’m sure you feel the same about your wife. I’ll meet you in the dining hall and perhaps continue our discussion there.”

“Very well, father,” Alex acquiesced before walking down the hall. Andrew watched him leave before walking down the opposite direction.


Dinner was a simple affair marked by the calm atmosphere that enveloped the hall. If Lord Birch had been entertaining guests, the hall would have been filled with the sound of music coming from the minstrels’ gallery that hung over the door and the babble of discussion. But since he was not, dinner was served as a small family gathering to talk of the day’s events.

A long table backed with simple benches was prepared covered in white linen and two candelabras standing on both ends, their glow adding to the fire burning in the hearth at the side of the hall. Servants milled about placing platters of food from the nearby kitchen on the table, setting up the individual dishes and silverware, and opening the curtains of the large windows opposite the hearth to reveal the sun setting below the land to the west. Shortly after preparations were complete, a few servants stayed to attend the diners that would soon be arriving.

Lord and Lady Birch were the first to arrive followed by little Ramia happily skipping behind her parents. Being the head of the family, Andrew took his seat at the head of the table while Celinda took her seat at his left and Ramia besides her.

Andrew smiled as he inhaled the appetizing smells already drifting from the food. “That smells delicious!” he exclaimed. “I wish the others would hurry so we could partake this small feast.”

Before long, Alex entered with his wife, Tiana, holding onto his arm. Their son, Galvin, followed from behind wearing a big grin across his face. “Well, look who finally arrived,” Celinda remarked brightly as she watched her son lead his wife to her chair before taking his own seat at his father’s right.

“Finally,” Andrew said grinning at his son. “You certainly did take your time.”

“Forgive me, father,” Alex apologized. “I had to take care of some business.”

As father and son exchanged pleasantries, Celinda couldn’t help but think how alike her son was to his father. They could be mistaken for twins except for the fact that Alex’s hair was taken from her and he preferred to wear it down instead of up like his father. Lady Birch was suddenly pulled from her thoughts as someone tugged the sleeve of her gown. She looked down to see that it was Ramia.

“Are we going to eat soon?” the little girl whined softly.

Celinda nodded. “Yes, of course, Ramia,” she replied before turning to her husband. “I think it’s time to say grace, dear,” she expressed. “The children are getting impatient and I’m sure you were too.”

“Oh, yes!” Andrew exclaimed suddenly remembering. He then stood up looking over his family and the food that they were prepared to eat. “Let us give thanks to God for the bounty He has placed upon us,” he announced to those gathered in the hall.

With that said, everyone bowed their heads and closed their eyes in preparation for the grace Andrew was about to recite.

“God,” he began, “we are gathered here once again to place your blessing upon us and upon the food we are about to partake. May it strengthen and nourish us, in this I pray by your Son, St. Ajora. Farlem.”

“Farlem,” everyone else echoed.

Lord Birch resumed his seat signaling to the servants to begin serving the meal. Some came bearing jugs of wine for the adults and cider for the children while others filled the nobles’ plates of the various food adorning the table.

Their meal consisted of the fish caught in the lake, as Alex had told to the children. The white meat of the fish was grilled and covered lightly with spices. Bread was also served as well as rice slightly fried with cut vegetables mixed in it.

Conversation began as the dinner progressed, the day eventually turning into night.

“So how goes your embroidery, Tiana?” Celinda asked her daughter-in-law casually as she spread butter on her roll of bread.

Tiana, whose beauty rivaled Celinda’s, maybe surpassing, as the older woman was much older in age. Raven hair bound by a silver fillet framed an oval face that could inspire a bard. Her dark brown eyes, at times firm, now sparked with interest as she daintily wiped her mouth on a linen cloth before replying to the lady’s question.

“It’s going well, my lady,” she smiled. “I believe my first piece shall be done by the end of the week.”

“That quick?” Celinda asked amazed and Tiana nodded. “I’m impressed!” the lady continued as she cut her fish. She then took a bite before resuming their conversation. “You must show me after you’re done.”

Tiana took a sip of her wine. “I’ll make sure you’ll be the first to see it,” she agreed wholeheartedly.

“See what?” Alex suddenly inserted hoping to fully engage himself in their conversation.

“It’s none of your concern,” his mother replied as both women returned to their meals, “especially when it comes to women affairs. But if you must know, we were talking about your wife’s embroidery. She said that she’d be done within the week. Now, how did your day go?” Celinda asked intentionally changing the subject.

Happy to find the change of subject to one of his liking, Alex immediately replied, “Surprisingly well! I am pleased to announce that twenty men from our fair city have decided to join our ranks in the castle garrison. That is the biggest turnout we had since the war.”

“That is good news,” Andrew murmured in approval. “I assume their training will begin tomorrow?”

“Yes, father,” Alex nodded.

Galvin, who was busy eating and listening to the conversation, suddenly became excited. “Can I come, papa?” he inquired enthusiastically, his eyes brightening at the prospect. “I want to see the knights!”

Alex stroked his neatly trimmed beard in thought, another trait he had inherited from his father. “I don’t see why not,” he finally answered after a moment’s thought. “Though the men I’ll be training will be ordinary foot soldiers, it will be somewhat the same when you’ll start your knightly training.”

“Which will begin next year, if I’m not mistaken,” Tiana stated and Alex nodded.

“Can I come too?” Ramia questioned from her side of the table.

Celinda turned to regard her husband, his face showing the gravity of his daughter’s request. Both parents had talked about this when the child had first arrived in Limberry. They had agreed to prohibit her from exploring the garrison grounds for want of invoking memories of her past.

Now a month had passed.

Has Ramia’s memories faded away?

Lord Birch decided to find out. It was a big risk but he needed to be sure. “Come, Ramia,” he beckoned the girl to his side. “Don’t worry,” he added with a reassuring smile when he saw the look of fear on his daughter’s face, “you’re not in trouble. I just need to ask you one question.”

The little child got out of her seat with the help of a servant and walked towards her father’s side. Andrew picked her up and placed her upon his lap. “Why do you want to go with Galvin?” he asked gently. “I think it’s much better for you to stay with your mother and Tiana. The garrison is no place for a young girl like you.”

“But it’s boring here!” Ramia pouted. “I don’t want to stay in the castle! I want to see the knights too!” she glowered as she crossed her arms.

Andrew looked questioningly at his wife who merely shrugged as if to say the decision is his to make. He sighed as he thought on what to do. Ramia was so adamant on seeing the knights, that fact made certain from her fuming features. What was he to do?

“Perhaps you and Galvin will not be the only one visiting the garrison,” he stated slowly as he turned to look at his son, coming to a decision. He then turned back to look at Ramia and smiled saying, “Ramia and I will go as well.”


“Go in peace to love and serve St. Ajora. Farlem.”


The priest, a young man in his mid-twenties, then turned towards the altar where a figurine of St. Ajora rested and bowed towards it. He then turned towards the congregation, which included the Birch family and a few servants, and walked down the aisle between the pews to leave the chapel. Servants followed the priest’s example, bowing towards the altar before leaving to attend to their numerous duties.

The Birches bowed as well before leaving the chapel as a whole. “I must head towards the garrison to prepare for today’s training,” Alex declared to his family.

“Will you not break your fast first?” Tiana asked.

Her husband shook his head. “I shall wait for the midday meal. Too much time has passed already.” He then turned to his father and asked, “Since you are bringing Ramia to the garrison, would you also bring Galvin too, father?”

“Of course,” Andrew replied. “I’ll be delighted.”

“Thank you,” his son returned gratefully. He then turned back towards his wife and gave her a quick hug before placing his helmet on his head as he turned for the garrison, his red and green cape billowing about him.

Soon after, the two ladies left to perform their individual duties, leaving Andrew with the two children. Lord Birch took the children to the dining hall to get a quick meal before heading out to the castle garrison.


The castle garrison was located in a spacious area towards the back of the castle. Within lay barracks and stables, armories, a hospital, granaries and storehouses, and a school.

Alex knew the place well as he walked through the area unhindered by the sights, sounds, or smells for he had grown quite accustomed to them. He heard the wark of a young chocobo as he passed by the stableyard where grooms were trying to calm it as they got the giant bird ready for its training that would one day equip the animal for war.

As he neared the smithy, he smelled smoke from the fires and saw the line of new recruits standing in front of the shop to receive their practice equipment. Alex observed each of the recruits’ faces as they received their gear.

Most of them were very young, he noted, guessing that some have not gone pass the age of twenty. Possessing the characteristic brashness of young men, they were eager to become soldiers of Limberry, to be among the respected for being a soldier in service of Limberry was an honor and a privilege. Alex had no doubt that they dream of glory and the wealth that comes with it.

He once was like them, brash and foolish. It was during the latter years of the Fifty Year War. He was eager to serve his countrymen in the battlefield but he was still in training. Fortunately, he was able to complete his training and was placed under his father’s command.

His father had commanded him to stay behind and guard the command post while they went into battle against the Ordallians. He was infuriated to find himself on guard duty. How could he prove his valor in battle if he were stuck guarding the camp?

Being brash was dangerous as he soon found out. He had left his post, disobeying his father’s order, and had joined the knights on the battlefield.

And was nearly killed.

Alex sighed as his mind came back to the present. Fortunately, these soldiers would not be facing any battles soon. Seeing that the final person in line received their equipment, he approached the recruits who were lined up in a disorderly fashion. He watched them closely, observing their faces, imprinting them in his mind. The first thing he always took note of was their attitude.


He could not have such men in his army. He needed to teach them how to use their heads, how to think, before they could train in weaponry. What good is a weapon if a person does not know how to wield it properly and efficiently?

That was the first step in their training.

Ready to begin their first training session, Alex stepped towards the group. As if noticing him for the first time, the group grew silent. They stood straight in attention as he walked down the line.

“For all who do not know me,” he began, “I am Alex Birch, but you will refer to me as Sir Birch. I am in charge of this garrison and I am also in charge of your training. I see you as incompetent soldiers and will treat you as such. By the end of your training, you will be masters of the art of combat and will be competent enough to know what to do shall a battle arise. Are there any questions before I continue?”

Alex watched as they shook their heads. “Good,” he nodded, “because I have one. How many of you know how to read and write?” A quarter of the group raised their hands, which surprised Sir Birch. He had expected to see only a couple of hands raised but was glad to see more. It would certainly make the training more tolerable.

“Very good,” Alex said pleased. “You five shall proceed into weapons training. The rest of you will learn how to read and write.”

There came some grumbling from the group. A young man with unruly brown hair boldly stepped forward. “Why should we learn how to read?” he demanded angrily. “We came here to be soldiers, not scholars!”

Alex turned to regard the young man with a keen eye. “What’s your name?” he questioned him calmly.

“Jon,” responded the young man.

“Can you spell that for me?” Alex continued. “If you can spell it, then you can proceed ahead as well.” He received his answer when the young man glowered, grudgingly stepping back in line.

“I see that my point has been proven,” Sir Birch stated. “If you find my methods a bit unorthodox, then you can leave. No one is forcing you to become a soldier. But know this, I will not have illiterate soldiers in my army. Any more questions or complaints?” He looked pointedly at Jon who continued to glower. After a brief moment of silence, he continued.

“Very well. Your lessons shall take place in that building there,” he pointed to a small rectangular building near the gate to the castle keep. “It’s called a school. I expect you to read and write by the end of the month. This is the first and utmost step. If you are unable to complete this session, then you can pack up your things and go home. Is that understood?”

The group angrily uttered their assent.

“Good!” Alex gestured towards the school. “Dismissed!” He watched them leave as they carried their gear, muttering angrily under their breaths. When they left, Alex turned to the five remaining recruits.

“Do any of you know how to use any type of weapon?” he questioned them.

“I know how to use a lance,” one replied.

“And I know how to use a bow,” another added.

Alex nodded in approval then turned to the other three that hadn’t replied. “I assume you don’t know how to use a weapon,” he stated rather than asked.

“Actually, Sir Birch,” one of them inserted a bit anxiously, “we three know how to use daggers and rods, small weapons of that sort.”

“Daggers and rods...” Alex repeated thoughtfully then broke into a wide smile. “Excellent!” he exclaimed. “You three are perfect candidates to be trained as chemists, which are in short supply around here. But I’m not the one in charge of training chemists. This changes everything.”

He then paused as he thought on what to do. Chemists were not of the warrior class he was used to training. The person in charge of that department was the Court Magician, Bernard Morr, but he was a grumpy old man who has no patience with training new students.

“I wish I had known this sooner,” he murmured as he stroked his beard. “I need to talk to Bernard to arrange your training but for now you‘ll be under my tutelage for the day. Tomorrow, perhaps, you will begin your training as chemists.”

He then turned away, signaling to the others that the conversation was over. “Follow me,” he told his students. “We have a long day ahead of us.”


Andrew carried Ramia on one arm as Galvin walked besides him excitedly talking about what they were to see. They headed towards the armory where knights and soldiers perfected their weapon skills against each other or against practice dummies.

As they traversed the flagstones of the great hall that housed the council chambers and their family, they were constantly greeted by servants and soldiers, which Lord Birch kindly returned. When they had finally left the great hall, they crossed the grass towards the armory next to the blacksmith.

Galvin ran ahead of the group eagerly knowing full well that the armory was where the knights trained. Andrew chuckled lightheartedly. “Galvin, slow down!” he yelled after him but the boy didn’t listen as he disappeared into the structure.

“Papa, where did Galvin go?” Ramia asked curiously. Her surroundings were not new to her for she had crossed it many times during her trips to the town proper. It was the fact that she was forbidden to enter any of the buildings.

“The armory,” Andrew replied, “where your brother trains the new recruits and where the knights practice their swordsmanship. Perhaps after we take a look at the new soldiers, I’ll show you around the place. Would you like that?”

“Yeah!” Ramia nodded vigorously.

Lord Birch smiled admiring the innocence and curiosity that young children possess. They finally entered the armory and were greeted with the many weapons that were stored in the first room. Swords hung on the walls, spears stood in bundles at the corners, shields were scattered around the place, and suits of armor were fastened to wooden posts.

Andrew observed closely at Ramia’s reaction to the sight of such equipment. If he detect the faintest hint of recognition, he would immediately bring her back to the great hall. Fortunately, all he could see was the wonderment present in all children when they gaze at something new for the first time. He sighed in relief before entering the second room just across the first.

In the high-ceilinged room, they found Galvin standing close to his father who watched the five trainees swing their lances in slow, awkward arcs. Alex then turned when he saw his father and Ramia approach.

“I thought there were more than five recruits,” Andrew stated as a greeting to his son.

“Yes, there are but they’re learning how to read and write first,” Alex nodded reverting his gaze back to the group. “Again!” he ordered when they were done with their swinging. “And faster this time!”

The family watched as the students swung their spears once more. “Ever the taskmaster,” Andrew murmured.

“I learned from the best,” Alex returned with a smile which became a laugh when he saw his little sister yawn. “I think Ramia is getting bored with this idle talk,” he informed his father. “Perhaps you should take her to the next room. Some of the knights there are training really hard.”

At the mention of knights, Ramia perked up, her eyes gleaming. “Let’s go papa!” she shouted enthusiastically.

“All right, all right!” Andrew laughed. “We’re going!” He then took a few steps towards the next room but paused. “Coming Galvin?” he asked his grandson. “I’m sure you want to watch the knights duel instead of these new recruits hurting themselves with a wrong swing.”

Galvin looked a little unsure. He looked up at his father hoping to get an answer from him. “If that’s what you want, Galvin,” Alex said, “you can go.”

“All right!” Galvin exclaimed before running off again ahead of Andrew and Ramia.

“Children,” Andrew sighed as he followed his grandson’s example.

When they entered the third room, they were assaulted by the sounds of clanging swords and shouting men. They were clothed in toughened and padded leather instead of full battle harness as they swung their swords around. Practice dummies lined one wall, straw and leather littering at their feet from when they were practiced upon.

Now they stood silently as the knights decided to duel with one another. Two knights stood in the middle of the room while the rest stood to the sides forming a ring about them. They circled each other, their bucklers raised before them in defense, their swords held to the side, looking for any opening to make an effective attack.

Suddenly, one shouted as he charged his opponent. He swung his sword and his opponent swung his sword in return. Blade clashed on blade, their ringing echoing around the room. The knights that were watching shouted at the men as if this were some sort of tournament.

Unlike the knights, however, the three visitors to the room watched in silence. Again Lord Birch observed Ramia for any signs of recollection. He expected to see the traces of awe characteristic of a curious child but he was taken aback by the seriousness he saw in her eyes.

There was no wonderment neither any merriment as Galvin was showing with his gleaming eyes and wide smile. The expression he saw reminded him of the young Agrias, stern and quiet, a complete mirror image.

Thinking this to be some sort of memory relapse, he called to her. “Ramia, is anything wrong?”

The child turned to look at her father. “Shh,” she whispered placing a finger on her father’s lips in a gesture of silence, “I’m watching.” She then turned her gaze back at the dueling men.

Andrew, too, reverted his gaze back at the knights as he wondered about Ramia’s sudden change in behavior. The tone she had spoken him with was not of her usual cheerfulness but of a grave girl that he never thought possible in a girl her age. His thoughts were then interrupted by Ramia’s whispered voice: “Papa, can I be a knight too? I‘ll work really hard.”

Lord Birch was a bit surprised by the request and a serious one at that. He placed her down on the ground, kneeling to her height afterwards as he placed a kindly hand on her shoulder. “Tell me, Ramia, why you ask such a thing?” he asked gently, curiously.

“Because...” the little girl began slowly. “Because Galvin is going to be one and I don’t want to be alone in the castle!” she exclaimed hastily afterwards.

Andrew heaved a sigh of relief upon hearing his daughter’s answer. He thought that she had wanted to become a knight because of some memory that she recollected. But that thought changed when he heard Ramia add, “And because of my dreams.”

“Dreams?” her father repeated slightly alarmed and Ramia nodded. “What do you see in these dreams, Ramia?” he inquired in a grave tone.

Her face scrunched up in concentration as she tried to remember. “A garden,” she began slowly as the images appeared in her mind, “filled with shrubs and flowers. A lady is there swinging a sword like the men Alex is watching.”

Andrew nodded knowing well that she was referring to the drills. But he was troubled when Ramia referred to this person as a ‘lady’. Was it who he think it was? Or was it a figment of his daughter’s imagination or the last traces of a fading memory? He needed to know before he could give a definite answer to her question.

“Who is this lady, Ramia?” he continued to question her.

The little girl shrugged. “I don’t know but after she practices, she would call me and we would walk through the garden. She would tell me things like how a knight is loyal and just and how a knight follows a code of honor. She also told me that I would be a knight someday like her and I believe her, papa. I want to be a knight just like her, just like you, just like Alex. So, can I?”

Lord Birch did not notice the request as he mulled over the details of Ramia’s dreams. A garden, he thought, and a lady... It could be none other than her. That would explain the garden and her calling out to Ramia.

During his visits to his old friend Agnes, he remembered seeing a garden just like the one Ramia described and being told that Agrias practiced her skills there in the midst of it. He never witnessed those drill sessions but Ramia’s words confirmed it. But the little girl did not know who the person was in her dreams which strengthens his belief that Ramia’s memories were slowly fading away becoming dreams and nothing more.

“Papa?” Ramia called uncertainly, breaking into Andrew’s thoughts. “Papa, are you okay?”

Andrew blinked as he tried to set his mind back into the present. “I’m alright, Ramia,” he said then smiled as he suddenly picked her up and carried her in his arms once again. “So, you want to become a knight!” he exclaimed as both went back into watching the duel.

It was two different men now, both samurais by the way their swords looked and held with both hands.

“Yeah!” Ramia squealed in delight.

“So be it,” Andrew nodded. “Wait three more years and you’ll start your training. I know you’ll become a fine knight.”

It’s in your blood after all...

Chapter 4

Final Fantasy Tactics Fanfic